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Since opening La Fillette as a mostly takeout, French-inspired operation in 2015, pastry chef Keturah Fleming has crafted steadily more ambitious croissants, and in late March, she brought them to a larger, full-service space in Montclair. There, customers can devour signature creations such as the croissant muffin, a true feat of engineering: Although they’re made with the same laminated dough as La Fillette’s other pastries, Fleming perfected a secret rolling technique to achieve a flawless cylindrical form (with the help of a mold). Then she adds toppings and fillings in rotating flavors (think: chocolate pistachio and sticky toffee pudding) to the can-shaped beauties. While you’re there, scope out the new brunch menu, which has savory treats like a smash burger with melted white American cheese, caramelized onions, and hollandaise sauce sandwiched between two pucklike croissant buns.
When the round, cream-filled croissants made by New York City’s Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery went viral in 2022, bakery pros around the world began churning out laminated homages of their own. That inspired Yasmín Lozada-Hissom, the pastry whiz behind Izzio Bakery inside Denver Central Market, to craft a version. To do so, she and her team came up with a four-day process. The painstaking steps include fermenting a mixture of freshly milled flour and Plugrà and Isigny Ste Mère European-style butters (known for their high fat contents) overnight; using a trifold method to laminate the dough before it’s rolled, cut, and shaped; and baking the proofed pastries at 3 a.m. the day they hit the bakery counter. The result is a circular vessel for creamy fillings and colorful decorations that’s caramelized on the outside and flaky on the inside. Look for flavors such as dulce de leche, matcha crunch, and raspberry cheesecake, all of which are worthy of flaunting on TikTok and Instagram.
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Arielle Israel and Megan Read are drawn to difficult bakes. That’s why the pastry chefs—who met at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York—chose to focus on the notoriously fussy craft of lamination. In 2019, they launched Black Box, a croissant-centric, wholesale-only bakery, with co-founder Ty Webb. To everyday Denverites’ delight, the trio expanded the business with a retail storefront in Edgewater Public Market this past March. Menu highlights include the sausage roll and an exceedingly rare vegan croissant, but don’t skip the namesake Black Box pastry. The extra-elaborate, monthly rotating mystery croissant comes in renditions such as lemon meringue stuffed with lemon curd and crowned with torched meringue. Customers may only ask if it’s sweet or savory or if it contains any allergens before ordering and receiving the secret goodie, which comes (naturally) in a black box.